Modern landscape architecture uses cues from nature to solve environmental challenges and create more sensitive design.
During 30 years in landscape architecture, Chip Crawford, FASLA, Senior Principal at Forum Studio, has witnessed the pendulum swing in landscape design. No longer intent on leveling the earth and displacing nature in the path of development, modern landscape design integrates the existing natural environment to create better built solutions for the earth and those who use the space.
StoryTrack: How do you begin to plan a development where there are existing natural systems?
Chip Crawford: We spend a lot of time analyzing what we call the genius of the place. What is it about the environment, about the circulation systems, the roadway systems, the soil types, the hydrology, the vegetation… that we can learn from as we begin to solve a problem on the site.
ST: Does that lead specifically into creating sustainable architecture?
CC: Landscape architecture is rooted in sustainability and doing what’s right for the planet in design and in materials. Some of the most current thinking about materials is around sustainability but also performance. For example, we’ve paved parking lots and roads for years. But now, people are realizing we can use permeable paving, which recharges the watershed and actually cleans the water.